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4oth Anniversary

Posted on 01/18/2013
Very odd how thinking about this letter created such very clear images in my mind from 40 years ago! "My KISSED Life, In Brushes" My first memory of KISS was in 1974; I was 12 years old. I was tagging along with my dad who was doing some shopping in one of Winnipeg's "SAM THE RECORD MAN" stores at the new Garden City Mall. I had not yet gotten into music and knew nothing about the music world, but I found myself taking a very long look at a vinyl album being displayed on the wall (perhaps a hundred more were displayed but I only noticed - and remembered - this one). I was really taken by the 4 white faces in black background staring back at me; I even remember feeling just a bit intimidated by them. I am obviously speaking of the first album, simply titled "KISS". I'm sure I forgot the name of the band by the time I walked out of that store, but the image became locked away in my mind. More on that in a bit. My second brush with KISS came in the summer of 1975. I guess by this time I was starting to find myself pausing to enjoy what seemed like pleasing music on the radio. On one such occasion I must have heard part of Rock N Roll All Nite for the very first time and found myself really enjoying it. I didn't hear the name of the song or the name of the band but I sure recognized how music had really grabbed me for the first time. Which leads me to.... My third brush with KISS must have been only a short time later. I was tossing the ball at "Larry and Randy's" place and Randy had his classic red 9-volt transistor radio playing on his porch. All of a sudden I recognized the opening notes to Rock N Roll All Nite and ran to the radio shouting "I love this song!!" For the first time in my life I made a point of stopping what I was doing so I could listen to a song on the radio. My fourth brush with KISS came by some extremely good fortune. Or was it fate? Again what must have been a short time later, I was at home in my bedroom and I could hear the records my 15 year-old sister was playing on our stereo system in the basement. It was all just background noise to whatever I was doing until I heard THAT song again and immediately realized that "my sister must actually have a record by the band who plays that song I like". After she was done with the stereo I asked sissy about the record she had just been playing. She said that it was a birthday gift from our "Baba" who, being an old-country grandmother, had just asked the music store sales clerk to "just grab something the kids are listening to these days". That store clerk sold her KISS ALIVE, perhaps only because it was a bit pricier as a double-album? My sister admitted that she would have declined this album had she been asked and had just played it this one time and confirmed it was not to her taste. With that I seized the opportunity to ask if I could then listen to it. When she pulled it out of our little record cabinet I couldn't believe my eyes - there on the cover where those same four freaks whom I had noticed up on the wall of the record store last year....this is the band that plays that song that I love? It took a moment for me to process the image of these wild looking guys and “perfect” sound of Rock N Roll All Nite, and then it hit me all at once and hard: these guys aren't freaks.....they're freakin' cool! After playing Alive for myself that first time, man I was hooked for life. I've had numerous other brushes with KISS over the years, including my first KISS concert in Winnipeg in 1977, many more here over the years, and a few on road trips including Halloween Night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the Psycho Circus tour in 1998. I also had the great fortune of meeting Paul and Gene in 1980, and Gene again in 2000, and on both occasions they were very gracious and went out of their way to spend a few minutes with me. From 1975 until today, there have been very few positive constants for me....my close friends, those of my family who are still living.....and my passion for my favorite band. KISS has seen me through every significant event in my life and thrilled me so many times. Nothing will top the anticipation and excitement I had waiting for the curtain to drop at my very first KISS concert – I was 15 and was about to see my heroes….live! There was the mini-reunion on Unplugged; the dream-come-true reunion tours that followed; and the dream-come-true release of new material in 2009 after hearing them say for years it would never happen. My last brush with KISS seems to be a never-ending stroke, as 40 years later KISS is rolling along as strong as ever. Words cannot describe how lucky I feel to still have them still playing a prominent role in my life. Thanks KISS, for all the years of entertainment, comfort, security and pride. Happy 40th anniversary to you and your millions of fans across the planet.
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